Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘dragonfly

Widow skimmer dragonfly on poverty weed

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When I’d almost finished wandering the grounds of Hyde Park High School on the morning of July 30th I spotted a dragonfly. Slowly moving in on it, I managed to get close enough for this portrait with a 100mm macro lens. The subject is a widow skimmer, Libellula luctuosa. Latin luctus* meant ‘sorrow, mourning, grief, affliction, distress, lamentation, especially over the loss of something dear to one,’ and it seems the large dark patches on this dragonfly’s wings fancifully reminded people of a widow in mourning. (Never mind that this widow appears to be a male.) And speaking of grief over what has been lost, look at how Tennyson ended his poem “Ulysses” with triumphant resignation:

“Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
————

* English used to have the borrowed adjective luctual, meaning ‘related to or producing grief,’ but the word has fallen out of use. We mourn its disappearance and the chance to play off intelluctual against intellectual.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 15, 2020 at 4:27 AM

Dragonfly obelisk

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Call it a handstand if you like. Entomologists refer to this upright dragonfly pose as the obelisk posture. Online articles that I’ve read list two purposes: to regulate body temperature when in bright sunlight and, for males, to assert dominance. Notice how the amber patch on this dragonfly’s wing acted like stained glass and let sunlight transmit that color to part of the insect’s body.

I took this picture on August 7th when we stopped in Charlotte,
North Carolina, to visit a friend we hadn’t seen in a couple of decades.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 5, 2019 at 4:57 AM

Roseate skimmer

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On October 4th I photographed a dragonfly that I take to be a roseate skimmer, Orthemis ferruginea.
Why the photograph doesn’t show six legs remains a mystery.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 16, 2018 at 4:40 AM

Dragonfly atop horsetail

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Dragonfly on Horsetail Strobilus 2189

From August 26th alongside the pond behind the Central Market on North Lamar (on the same outing that recently brought you a closeup of a rain-lily), here’s a dragonfly that I take to be a male blue dasher, Pachydiplax longipennis, clasping the strobilus of a horsetail, Equisetum spp. For a much closer look at the dragonfly’s face, click the thumbnail below. For a closer look at the dashing male (but not blue) photographer’s face, come visit me in Austin.

Dragonfly on Horsetail Strobilus 2189 Detail

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 13, 2015 at 5:12 AM

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